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Were you unable to attend Transform 2022? Check out all of the summit sessions in our on-demand library now! Watch here.


Today’s threat landscape is an unforgiving place. With 1,862 publicly disclosed data breaches in 2021, security teams are looking for new ways to work smarter, rather than harder.  

With an ever-growing number of vulnerabilities and sophisticated threat vectors, security professionals are slowly turning to threat intelligence to develop insights into Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) and exploits they can use to proactively harden their organization’s defenses against cybercriminals. 

In fact, research shows that the number of organizations with dedicated threat intelligence teams has increased from 41.1% in 2019 to 47.0% in 2022. 

Microsoft is one of the key providers capitalizing on this trend. Just over a year ago, it acquired cyberrisk intelligence provider RiskIQ. Today, Microsoft announced the release of two new products: Microsoft Defender Threat Intelligence (MDTI) and Microsoft External Attack Surface Management. 

The former will provide enterprises with access to real-time threat intelligence updated on a daily basis, while the latter scans the internet to discover agentless and unmanaged internet-facing assets to provide a comprehensive view of the attack surface. 

Using threat intelligence to navigate the security landscape  

One of the consequences of living in a data-driven era is that organizations need to rely on third-party apps and services that they have little visibility over. This new attack surface, when combined with the vulnerabilities of the traditional on-site network, is very difficult to manage. 

Threat intelligence helps organizations respond to threats in this environment because it provides a heads-up on the TTPs and exploits that threat actors use to gain entry to enterprise environments.

As Gartner explains, threat intelligence solutions aim “to provide or assist in the curation of information about the identities, motivations, characteristics and methods of threats, commonly referred to as tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs).” 

Security teams can leverage the insights obtained from threat intelligence to enhance their prevention and detection capabilities, increasing the effectiveness of processes including incident response, threat hunting and vulnerability management. 

“MDTI maps the internet every day, forming a picture of every observed entity or resource and how they are connected. This daily analysis means changes in infrastructure and connections can be visualized,” said CVP of security, compliance, identity and privacy, Vasu Jakkal. 

“Adversaries and their toolkits can effectively be ‘fingerprinted’ and the machines, IPs, domains and techniques used to attack targets can be monitored. MDTI possesses thousands of ‘articles’ detailing these threat groups and how they operate, as well as a wealth of historical data,” Jakkal said. 

In short, the organization aims to equip security teams with the insights they need to enhance their security strategies and protect their attack surface across the Microsoft product ecosystem against malware and ransomware threats.

Evaluating the threat intelligence market 

The announcement comes as the global threat intelligence market is steadily growing, with researchers expecting an increase from $11.6 billion in 2021 to reach a total of $15.8 billion by 2026. 

One of Microsoft’s main competitors in the space is IBM, with X-Force Exchange, a threat-intelligence sharing platform, where security professionals can search or submit files to scan, and gain access to the threat intelligence submitted by other users. IBM recently announced raising revenue of $16.7 billion. 

Another competitor is Anomali, with ThreatStream, an AI-powered threat intelligence management platform designed to automatically collect and process data across hundreds of threat sources. Anomali most recently raised $40 million in funding as part of a series D funding round in 2018. 

Other competitors in the market include Palo Alto Networks‘ WildFire, ZeroFOX platform, and Mandiant Advantage Threat Intelligence. 

Given the widespread adoption of Microsoft devices among enterprise users, the launch of a new threat intelligence service has the potential to help security teams against the biggest threats to the provider’s product ecosystem.

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Tue, 02 Aug 2022 08:00:00 -0500 Tim Keary en-US text/html https://venturebeat.com/2022/08/02/microsoft-threat-intelligence/
Killexams : IBM report shows cyberattacks growing fast in number, scale No result found, try new keyword!A new report out of IBM shows that when it comes to the rising threat of data breaches, it’s the consumer – not the company – fronting the price tag. Fri, 29 Jul 2022 22:30:00 -0500 text/html https://www.bizjournals.com/triad/news/2022/07/30/ibm-data-cyberattacks-growing-in-number-scale.html Killexams : Is the metaverse going to suck? A conversation with Matthew Ball

Let’s talk about the metaverse.

You probably can’t stop hearing about it. It’s in startup pitches, in earnings reports, some companies are creating metaverse divisions, and Mark Zuckerberg changed Facebook’s name to Meta to signal that he’s shifting the entire company to focus on the metaverse.

The problem, very simply, is that no one knows what the metaverse is, what it’s supposed to do, or why anyone should care about it.

Luckily, we have some help. Today, I’m talking to Matthew Ball, who is the author of the new book called The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything. Matthew was the global head of strategy at Amazon Studios. In 2018, he left Amazon to become an analyst and started writing about the metaverse on his blog. He’s been writing about this since way before the hype exploded, and his book aims to be the best resource for understanding the metaverse, which he sees as the next phase of the internet. It’s not just something that you access through a VR headset, though that’s part of it. It’s how you’ll interact with everything. That sort of change is where new companies have opportunities to unseat the old guard.

This episode gets very in the weeds, but it really helped me understand the decisions some companies have made around building digital worlds and the technical challenges and business challenges that are slowing it down — or might even stop it. And, of course, I asked whether any of this is a good idea in the first place because, well, I’m not so sure. But there’s a lot here, so listen, and then you tell me.

Okay, Matthew Ball. Here we go.

Matthew Ball is the managing partner of Epyllion and the author of a new book called The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything. Welcome to Decoder.

Glad to be here.

You are also the proprietor of an excellent Twitter feed about the metaverse. Do you think of Twitter as your primary platform?

I do. It is my most used app. TikTok is creeping up there — and of course my Screen Time doesn’t register Fortnite — but Twitter is definitely my primary channel and where I learn the most.

You have been tweeting about the metaverse for quite some time, and you obviously have a big audience on Twitter. From a media nerd perspective, why turn it into a book?

Thanks for the tee up. I started writing about this fascinating Topic in 2018. The term comes from the early ‘90s, but the ideas span back to the ‘30s. This truly century-old idea was finally practical, that is to say, we could start building it and trying to realize it. Over the following years, I got smarter in the area, received more input from other people, and more projects came to bear.

Then suddenly last year it became the word du jour. Not only did Facebook rename themselves, but Google also did a reorg, Amazon started redoing job descriptions, and many of the fastest-growing companies in media tech — Roblox, Unity, Epic — wrapped themselves around the theme. Yet there was very little actually articulating what it is, why it mattered, and what the challenges were.

I was really excited about crystallizing that, distilling my thinking into something more concrete, updating the things that I got wrong, making sure that it was comprehensible, but the most important thing was actually social. Every time we have a platform shift, we have an opportunity to change which companies lead, which philosophies, which business models. I think many people are coming out of the last 15 years dissatisfied with the lack of regulation, the take rates, the role of algorithms, monetization, and which companies lead — and who leads, frankly. The best way to positively affect that outcome was to be informed about what was next. That is the goal.

We have to start at the beginning. There are a couple chapters at the beginning of the book where you talk about that long history and how it has built up to this moment. The third chapter is called “A Definition Finally,” which is great because I feel like the definition of the metaverse really does need that “finally” moment. What is your definition of the metaverse?

I cheat here a little. It is more helpful to describe it similarly to defining the internet as TCP/IP, the internet protocol suite. The description is what is more helpful.

It is a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time, rendered, 3D virtual worlds that can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users, each with an individual sense of presence. It has the technologies, capabilities, and standards to support what is essentially a parallel plane of existence that spans all virtual worlds and the physical world. From a human outcome, it means that an ever-growing share of our time, labor, leisure, wealth, happiness, et cetera, will exist in virtual spaces.

One of the key pieces of that definition is “3D virtual worlds.” I have heard other definitions of the metaverse that are a little bit more expansive, that get you to a place where Wordle is the metaverse. We are all doing it together once a day, so we exist in the universe of Wordle, however that universe is defined. You are saying this has to be 3D; it effectively has to be a video game. You get to a place where Fortnite, Roblox, or any number of other massively multiplayer online games is the metaverse. Does that count for you?

It is really a question of “what is” versus “what connects to and is part of” it. My building that I am speaking to you from right now is not the internet, nor really on the internet, yet it is part of the internet in one way, shape, or form. Wordle, of course, is mostly locally run on your device. You would not really call it an internet service, but some of it is delivered.

When you are talking about the metaverse as a new computing platform, for me, 3D is a requirement to do many new things, to elevate human existence — especially in key categories such as healthcare, education, and so forth — but the term really does not matter. What is in and out does not matter. It is likely we never say “metaverse.” In China, they have adopted the term “hyper-digital reality.” We may talk about the 3D internet, or we may just use the term internet. What matters is the real-time rendered element, which basically means the world as it exists is legible and changeable to software, and the advent of graphics compute. It does not need to be a game, it is just an expression.

I understand what you are saying. It is the description that matters, and this word may go out of fashion. Let me just push on that description and definition a little bit.

Right now you can log into Fortnite and run around with a bunch of friends. It is cross-compatible with many different kinds of devices, so it does not matter what hardware you have in your house. You are in a persistent online space where lots of other people are. Are you saying that because Fortnite does not connect to Roblox, it is not the metaverse?

This would be a little bit like asking, “If AOL ran on multiple different devices and a few different networks, is that the internet?” We could say it is, but if you talked about just AOL services in particular, you would be talking about a proprietary platform. You would not be talking about a unified experience that spans into industry with myriad different outputs, servers, or domain registrars.

The metaverse is really describing that unified experience, rather than a single expression, much like we would not say Facebook is “an” internet or “the” internet. When you are talking about Fortnite, there are certainly a bunch of things that do not fit there. It is not actually a persistent experience, and there are very few people who can connect to it at one point. Nominally, there are 100 people in a match, but they use a bunch of cheats so that there are only really 12 people that matter. It also does not connect into anything that isn’t purely game-like and leisure-oriented.

The definition of the internet at its most basic levels is a network of networks. You are connected to the network at university, work, or home, where you can go out and connect to Amazon’s network of servers to browse, then leave Amazon and connect to Facebook’s network of servers to do stuff there. You are saying the metaverse is the same thing as that overarching network of networks; it is the connectivity between multiple, different 3D worlds.

That is right.

What I would push on there is that the internet did not have to be built that way. The AOL example is very interesting, because AOL did not want it to go that way. The value plummeted when AOL went from being a provider of first-party services — like chat rooms, groups, and email — to an ISP that connected you to better versions of those services run by other people.

What is the push for Epic Games or Roblox to enable that connectivity? Historically, the people who own those experiences faced a raft of competition the second they gave them up. They kind of became dumb pipes and disappeared.

Let’s pause for a second. Of course, that was not the necessary outcome for AOL. We know now that no matter how successful AOL might have been in expanding its geographic footprint in connectivity, the largest opportunity for them was in horizontal software and services. There is a world where AIM, AOL Instant Messenger, becomes one of the world’s most significant communication platforms, like WhatsApp or Snapchat. There is a world in which its search engine turns into one of the world’s most dominant ad networks.

Microsoft is a pretty good example of that. They have never had a smaller share of computing devices, hardware, or operating systems, but their horizontal business is far more valuable than ever.

When you are talking about the incentives, first of all, we are already seeing this progress. The Roblox founder and CEO has been talking a lot about their explicit designs for interoperability. They have open-sourced some of their scripting languages, and he is even talking about embracing NFTs to take some projects off of Roblox.

Last week, the Metaverse Standards Forum was established by the Khronos Foundation — 28 companies such as Qualcomm, Epic, Meta, and others — specifically to solve this problem. Coming together is the easiest part. It is not forcing anyone to make a concession yet, to pick something that they did not advocate for, but is all in service of expanded network effects.

The belief is if consumers can buy 3D objects that can be used in more places, or encounter history that has more persistence and utility, it will grow much like the world economy, did through trade. There were individual instances of compression with some markets, some products, and some countries, which suffered from time to time, but the network was much stronger.

I will say you are right that the internet could have gone a different way, but we did have many competing inter-networking standards. There was a point in time in the early ‘90s where the Department of Commerce and the Department of Defense disagreed and pushed different standards. The idea that Comcast could email IBM, could email Telefónica, could email China Mobile, was really not the consensus. We had the protocol wars, but network effects and utility won out in the end.

The idea of a Metaverse Standards Forum is very funny to me. When covering consumer technology, you come up against standards bodies all the time, and they are hyper political. I would not say that Bluetooth is an example of the tech industry making something great that everyone loves, but it is pervasive in its way. The beginning of a standard and that early energy is great.

At some point, dollars are going to get allocated across whatever the metaverse is, and owning the early access points seems really valuable. This race and amount of hype we are in now, is it really about initiating the customer into whatever the metaverse is, to make sure that every time they buy something in another 3D world, you will get your 30% cut? Or is it, as you were saying at the beginning, that the technical ability to start building an early version of what you might consider the metaverse a net good? Should we just start doing it and see what happens along the way?

I think the latter is more likely, but it is more of an organic process. If you take a look at one idea that we have long believed would have utility, a federated universal identity in digital space, Microsoft has tried that multiple times. The .NET Framework was the last big time they tried, but no one wanted it. It was rarely deployed, for many of the reasons you just mentioned. I do not want to use Microsoft’s account system.

What happened to be the best way to build the de facto standard for identity was Facebook, which started as a college hot-or-not. The best way to build a or the metaverse for Epic was not by trying to build it. It happened to be a battle royale game that was not even intended to be a battle royale. That is to say, this process starts from building something tangential, that is 3D-oriented and social, that connects into another thing. Then you start to get organic alignment around that standard set.

You are right to be skeptical when someone says, “This is the thing, let’s all do it.” It rarely happens that way. It is actually more power-based.

You have described the metaverse as this parallel reality that you can live in and transact in, that will grow an economy that mirrors the world economy, because we will figure out some way to have scarce digital goods. I will come to the blockchain portion of this conversation later, but that is what you are describing.

In science fiction, where the word metaverse comes from, that vision is always dystopian. In the book, you refer to Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash a lot, and you point out that the metaverse in Snow Crash made life in the real world notably worse. The heart of tension for me is the idea that we will build a parallel world and end up as so many brains transacting on other people’s platforms. I have an instinctive recoil from that which makes me skeptical of the entire enterprise, because I think life in the real world is actually rich and rewarding. I can go out and touch grass, and Apple, Google, Facebook, Epic, or whoever cannot get in the way of me doing that. Fundamentally, what makes this not the dystopia that it is always described as?

I agree with a lot of that and disagree with some of that. The literature for the metaverse in its antecedence is dystopic. One of the important reasons why that is the case is because the point of most fiction is human drama, especially science fiction.

Put another way, utopias tend not to make for much human drama. This is true that when you look at Neuromancer, The Matrix, Ready Player One, or back to the 1930s with Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov; these virtual planes of existence are not described favorably. Why? Because even when they are not negative in and of themselves, they lead to some disengagement with reality, and that is the problem. The technology is amoral, the consequences are not.

When you take a look at the actual examples to build these things, whether that is multi-user shared hallucinations in the ‘70s, Second Life and other metaverse-style experiences from the ‘90s, or Roblox and Fortnite from the 2000s, the tone is very different. It is not dystopic, it is creation, exploration, identification, and collaboration. Those are all very important.

At the end of the day, I don’t know that scarcity is that important, and this is actually where I think I disagree with many of my peers in the investing community, especially in relation to the blockchain. I don’t really get virtual land, certainly not scarce virtual land. The two brilliant things about the internet are network effects and zero marginal costs. Trying to create a next-version of the internet that constrains networks through money and introduces scarcity that need not be there, for a virtual plane of existence that does not actually need to simulate the real world, I don’t get and frankly don’t believe in.

We have done a lot of interviews with various Web3 folks on the show. I would say some of the themes there echo the themes you have brought up. There are a lot of people who, having built or invested or experienced the last 15 years of the internet, are dissatisfied with where we have landed. Can we build a new kind of internet that more effectively rewards creators and is not just about engagement metrics?

You talk about the metaverse and say, “Okay, I want to have digital goods. I want to buy and sell things here that create a world economy that rivals the real-world economy.” How do you do that without scarcity? Are we going to DRM all the virtual clothes? There is an element here that you need to create some sort of scarcity if your goal is to buy and sell 3D digital objects at a rate of transaction that mirrors the real world.

It is really interesting. This is where we get into a fundamental break between how different believers in the metaverse actually imagine the value. Just as I am not a believer in scarce virtual land that costs thousands if not millions of dollars, there is probably a pretty low ceiling to virtual goods and apparel. They are usually in support of experiences. It is either the experiences that drive the underlying value — as is the case in Fortnite — and not the items per se, or it is what we would consider graphics-based computing or simulation at large.

Let me make that less abstract. Jensen Huang, the founder and CEO of Nvidia, now the seventh-largest company globally, believes that the economy of the metaverse will eventually exceed that of the physical world. We are talking 51 percent, which would be $50 trillion per year in spending right now. He is not at all interested in virtual clothes or leisure. He is talking about real-time 3D simulations running the world’s best development platform, which is the world. A building or infrastructure, where goods flow and why, how you programmatically advertise in 3D space, often for physical things, certainly does not require scarcity of the odd avatar.

Explain that a little more directly. When you say the best development platform in the world is the world itself, do you mean the 3D environment that you are in?

I mean the physical world, the one that you are standing on and exist in right now, which has many of the attributes I mentioned such as persistence, maximum capacity, et cetera. I will deliver two examples that are perhaps helpful.

Nvidia redesigned its headquarters with a real-time, rendered 3D simulation to understand every design choice. “What happens when you put a piece of window in one spot, or use one construction material or another? At exactly 3:22 p.m., November 22, what is the climate implication in the conference hall? How do you simulate the flow of energy, of heat, or the refraction of light to drive energy to operate the building?”

We are seeing that premise being used to operate airports in real time. “Do we really want to move the flight from gate 82 to gate 80 because it is close by? Should we actually move it farther away for operational efficacy and safety reasons in case there is a flash flood, fire, or terrorist event?” We are talking about making the entire physical world with an augmented layer on top of it that is legible to software in real-time, impacting production flows in a factory or the flow of people in a facility and so forth.

Connect that to the metaverse for me. This is a concept that is often called digital twins. You build an operational, digital twin of an airport or your office building, and they can proceed down different timelines based on different choices to deliver you a sense of what might happen if you make changes in the physical world. Do they interact? If someone is going from the digital twin of your office to the digital twin of the airport, is that where you think the metaverse is?

I think the idea of simulating physical environments more directly, more accurately, is very powerful. The idea that there will be some layer of commerce in those digital twins that is independent of what is happening in the real world seems like the big step.

There are two things to unpack. Number one, digital twins are not the metaverse. If the internet is a network of networks, of different autonomous systems exchanging information consistently under common protocols, then a digital twin is like an office network. It is the Vox ethernet.

It is the interconnection with other digital twins, other simulations, for the exchange of information — your user identity, your payment history, or your avatar if you so choose — that collectively produces the metaverse. In this instance, there is not necessarily any utility or purpose for you, the consumer, to explore the digital twin of the environment you are in.

You might wear augmented glasses in 2037, in which case a version of that digital twin is being overlaid selectively to you, but I don’t agree with the premise that we are going to navigate an airport by putting on a headset or taking out our device.

Are you saying you don’t agree with the premise that there will be pervasive augmented reality?

No, I do. My point is the digital twin, at least foreseeably, is a B2B application, not something that you, the consumer, is going to log into and explore. There is very little practical value right now in you saying, “I want to go navigate MIA, the Miami airport, in a 3D digital twin.” It is not interesting or useful. That does not mean it isn’t super valuable to the operator.

As you describe this, there are a bunch of very hard, technical problems to solve to make this all work. If I build a digital twin on Nvidia’s platform of the airport and someone builds another digital twin on another platform for the office building, it is not just me, the builder of the digital twin, that needs to want to inter-operate.

The platforms need a core capability to inter-operate. If I want to jump from Roblox to Fortnite, those companies have to agree that my avatar can go between the worlds. If I buy a gun in one video game and want to go to another video game where that gun is 100 times more powerful, I might just wreck it for everyone. Some of that is a very difficult technical problem, some of that is cultural, and some of that is straight up business and politics. Have you seen the beginnings of solutions to those problems?

You’re right. Most technology problems are only masquerading as technical problems, and are actually business and/or societal problems, as in “can we agree?”. In the gaming community, I see limited benefit from taking your gun or avatar from one environment to another. That is not to say that there isn’t some utility, particularly with cosmetics with no functional value. It is easier, but at the end of the day, how important is it that I can wear a banana peely skin in Call of Duty? Probably not that important. The technical impediments, not to mention the commercial and creative ones, are pretty high.

When you take a look at industrial simulation, the utility there is a lot higher and the technical solutions are already in place. You mentioned Nvidia’s omniverse platform, which is not really a platform in the same sense as Roblox or Minecraft; it is actually more of a middleware simulation DMZ. It is actually where DeSo and Boeing take their simulations and interconnect them, with Nvidia’s machine learning upscaling, downscaling, translating, and then operating that simulation.

There is a lot of work to do if you want to talk about the progress. We do have some standards groups, but there is an old xkcd joke that basically says when 14 people disagree about 14 competing standards, you get a 15th standard that no one uses. So I don’t want to be too optimistic there.

What you see with Epic is one potential example. They launched their Epic Online Services, a live services suite where independent game developers can access Epic’s 500-million-account user base with 3.5 billion user connections — and at this point $30 billion in invested avatars and skins. This is just like The New York Times tapping into Facebook’s account system to speed up the user flow. Not to say that they don’t prefer their own account, but they recognize there is utility in getting some information.

You and I can go make a game and then access Epic’s avatar suite and its users, therefore driving from smaller developers, who are less endowed technically and financially, to consolidate around their conventions, their file types, and their engine to tap into their networks.

I feel like we are bouncing back and forth between where the money is now and where the money will be in the future. To some extent, this is making my head spin. You are saying the money in the future is not just avatars, skins, and items. It is some massive B2B market where the real world is being simulated at a level of high fidelity, and some revenue will be created there as different businesses find different things to do for each other. The money right now is very much in Fortnite skins, right? How do you go from one to the other?

I don’t mean to oscillate between the two points. My point is rather that when people express skepticism as to whether or not standards and interoperability can be achieved, it is important to say that progress is happening. We had cross-platform gaming in 2018, we now have common account systems and entitlement systems for Epic, and we have the omniverse platform for Enterprise.

The fundamental tension you are talking about stems from the fact that, for decades, game engines, 3D simulations, have essentially been good enough for leisure and not much else. Unreal, for example, is a non-deterministic physics engine. That means that if you throw a grenade eight times, you might get seven different answers, somewhat.

It is only recently that the fidelity and sophistication of the simulation, and the investment that Epic has made into vertical solutions, make it practical enough for deployment in healthcare, military, education, and automotive. We are very early on that deployment curve. You need to get it right, then you need people to adopt it and so forth.

That is one of the reasons why we struggle with this odd juxtaposition of talking about the trillion-dollar metaverse economy while turning over and saying, “Right, but we are talking about $200 billion in gaming spent mostly on cosmetics.”

I just keep coming back to the notion that the metaverse is the inter-connection between these worlds. That is where the value multiplier is. You can build all this stuff as one-offs, and all you have really ended up with is AOL and CompuServe. If you connect those things together and to 100 different networks and servers, then you have multiplied the value of all of it. Everyone rushes into it because it is so compelling that you cannot say no. Suddenly we end up in 2022, and every now and again I’m like, “Maybe we should turn it off.” It eats the world in a way that seems remarkable.

The immediate, compelling use of the internet was obvious to everyone, in the sense that if you wanted to look something up, you could just do it faster. Wikipedia comes into existence and suddenly the Encyclopedia Britannica seems unwieldy, old, and not up to date anymore. The other day I wanted to figure out how to cook something, so I watched a YouTube video and that was the end of it. I knew how to do it and we were off to the races. Whrere are the compelling, immediate uses of the metaverse that showcase that multiplicative effect, beyond just getting to the Boeing simulation faster?

To start with, I would personally disagree that the utility of the internet was self-evident. I mean, we have the classic Paul Krugman example in 1998.

Well, I am not saying some people weren’t wrong. I’m kidding around when I say that I was just smarter.

No, I agree with you. One of the weird things is that transition point was actually relatively late. Even as late as 1996, there were fewer than 50 million Americans who would use the internet in a month, and most of that use case was pretty frivolous. When I was in high school, Wikipedia was seen as deleterious, that it actually worsened education. I think that is part of it.

What we are seeing here is network effects. I don’t mean to be evasive, but we are talking about combinatorial innovation that is not yet present and therefore remains speculative. Take a look at the world economy, as an example. It is not that having independent nations and industries wasn’t hugely profitable, it was that the utility of all investments of all products in all markets went up.

In the social era, we easily take for granted that anything we create works everywhere. I create text, audio, video and I can take it anywhere. I can take a photo with my iPhone, it stores to iCloud, and I don’t have to say, “Well, darn, now I can’t put it on Facebook.” I can put it on Facebook, right click, save as, upload it to Snapchat, screenshot it on Snapchat, and put it into TikTok.

The utility of global commerce and trade, the utility of having common file formats, is really profound on the internet. It is so hard to create in 3D. Then you have this issue where the thing you want to do in 3D is a different system from your partner. Unity and Unreal actually use different XYZ coordinates, if you can believe it.

It is kind of intuitive at this point to say we have had hundreds of billions of dollars in 3D assets invested, and all of those essentially get deprecated after their first use. That means that we either need to remake them, or we just will never use them. That is part of the premise here.

I will deliver you a counterexample. Emoji is a big standard. It is run by a consortium, but it is rendered differently by every phone, by every platform. So the smiley face emoji…

I am an Android guy, I know it well.

It’s the grimace emoji, right? On Samsung phones, for a long time, it looked like it was smiling. Samsung owners were sending people grimaces when they meant they were smiles or vice versa.

You have a 3D file format, and everyone has agreed, “Okay, this is the one.” How do you make sure it is rendered across all these systems? Over time, will Samsung have to realize, “A lot of people are confused by our emoji, we should come together with Apple and make sure they look the same”? Google had to go from blobs to faces, which was very controversial in the virtual world, I will point out.

I like the blobs.

People love the blobs, and Google got rid of them because Apple is dominant and they needed to conform to what Apple emoji looked like. Do you see that playing out with 3D objects? Will an outfit or briefcase in Fortnite eventually come to dominate what it looks like everywhere else?

The example with emoji is a good one. It shows where slow-moving standards bodies, even when they are successful, end up being corralled through standard participants. They are not overtly saying, “Here is what the standard should be,” but drive all of the other members along. That actually helps with standardization.

When you are talking about 3D objects, there is a large contingent who believe that the consumer-facing 3D objects are less important. Bringing your briefcase from one environment to another is less important than having the environment itself be useful or repurposable for more developers. As an example, take the investment that Disney has made into Hoth, and make that into a virtual biking course used by Peloton, a dating simulation on Tinder, or a theme park in Fortnite. That is probably more useful.

When it comes to your question of visual cohesion, it is not just a question of how you want to express it. What dimensions do you need? What pixel density do you have? The technology for machine learning, particularly from Intel, to up- and downscale is pretty strong. You can take a 2D object and 3D-ify it. You can say The Verge makes virtual shoes that don’t separate between the sole and the fabric, but our system can actually separate the two for different designs. A lot of that is going to be interpretive software that takes what is not standardized and modifies it.

I feel like this is beginning to unlock for me in an important way. Unreal has moved into Hollywood, and it has moved into cars. You see this graphical engine appear in more and more places where graphics need to be rendered. So The Mandalorian renders the background on giant LED monitors behind the actors in Unreal, and now that same virtual world is available for Peloton to say, “We are going to bike through this environment.” Is that somehow an open platform for that kind of development?

You are quite right. Let me frame it a slightly different way. Entertainment is such a good example. Disney will spend $100 million producing backdrops in virtual environments for a film. Those are essentially all deprecated. They are increasingly used for the next film, but that is about it. What does that mean?

Well, if Peloton wants to build a Star Wars biking sim, they need to build it all. The business case might not be there. In addition, Disney might say, “Well, we have to make the thing, then we have to brand approve the thing, so we need to charge a lot.” So a lot of this does not happen. Once you start to standardize these 3D assets, you start to say, “We have made this investment and now we can use it wherever we want, or at least more extensively without building it anew.”

You take that from consumer leisure to, “Well, Ford has dimensionalized its next Ford Escape, so now we can simulate it in other enterprise environments, such as a car park for parking simulations.” A Hummer vehicle can use its lidar sensors to map the local area, then you can pre-drive that environment, like you would in a video game, to make sure that you can make the path. Making all of this information more repurposable starts to have extreme combinatorial effects, either by making new creations easier or cheaper.

Who controls the access and the connections between those things in your view of the metaverse? That seems like a very powerful vision, but then I start to pull the thread. If Disney has rendered out the world of The Mandalorian, I’m like, “I want to make print versions of The Verge for The Mandalorian.” I can imagine all these things we could do, but it feels like I still have to go get permission. The asset may be cheaper, but over time, content creation gets cheaper and cheaper anyway. Where does the technical part of availability come from? That seems like the hardest problem that we have been talking about.

There is no simple answer. These environments are managed centrally, and their permissions are going to be managed deliberately to start. If we have learned anything from the era of Shutterstock, TurboSquid, Quixel, or 3D asset databases, it is that the most valuable stuff, the IP, is not easily or cheaply licensed.

This is where we get into one of those fundamental questions of decentralization versus centralization. There are good arguments to be made that the last 15 years were too centralized, because the internet protocol suite has too little in it. We can get into that one way or another, but there are many forms of centralization that have nothing to do with technology per se. Revenue leads to greater investment and better products. IP centralizes or drives habit and retention. Brand keeps people inside of a system that they trust more than another.

This is the case even if you believe that the metaverse is a big, disruptive, next-generation internet, or if you believe in the wide deployment of blockchain and Web3 to democratize more of the stack. OpenSea is a great example of how we may still end up with no technical barriers to switching, but enormous habit and brand-based, or IP-based, stickiness to a few.

I feel like we have arrived at the Web3 portion of the conversation, so let’s talk about it. The ideas are in parallel, right? The amount of Web3 hype that has happened over the past 18 months is right next to the amount of metaverse hype. It feels like everybody wants to conflate them for some reason. Certainly, it is trendy in the business world to conflate them, to juice your stock price in some insane way.

They are not necessarily connected, but it does feel like the game of, “What are some use cases for Web3?” is best answered by, “There will be scarce digital objects in the metaverse.” There is a connection there. The open, technical questions of how these 3D worlds might work and how you might transact in them are actually answered by the blockchain, by Web3 technologies. Do you see that connection as directly? Do you think it is just a quirk of timing? Do you think there are other possible solutions?

I think that there are a few different things that we can unpack here. First and foremost, I and others, like Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Sweeney, describe the metaverse as a successor state, or quasi-successor, to today’s internet. Web3 is so named because it succeeds Web2. If both things come after the current thing, it makes sense that you have conflation.

In addition, there is a good reason to believe that the philosophies at minimum, or perhaps the technology at maximum, of blockchain are essential or important to the metaverse. Which is to say, property rights are probably going to be important, as they are to most economies. The ability to tap into decentralized or wide networks of contributors to provide extra GPU cycles, broadband, or just time and assets, which are currently hard to accumulate from individuals — Patreon only scales so much —are good reasons to believe that it is important to have a thriving metaverse, one that we want rather than one that is just technically possible.

I understand why the two are conflated, but I would say that they are separate. When you are talking about a good technological solution, when you talk about interoperability, you need a standard. You need someone to effectively take custody of an object and you need everyone to agree that they trust it.

The big problem that we have right now is EA and Activision do not have a good system to exchange anything. They certainly do not want to use one another’s new thing, should it exist. When other aggregators like Steam have tried in the past, no one opts in because the platform is already powerful enough.

Irrespective of whether or not blockchains are actually the ideal solution, they clearly have some revenue attached, speculative or not. They are proving themselves to get a wide collection of different deployed solutions. At the end of the day, it is not always important whether something is perfect, insofar as whether or not everyone uses it. The GIF file format is awful. We have known that for decades and yet everyone uses it, and so that ends up being the thing. That to me is part of the case.

One of the very hard problems with all of this is the amount of compute that is required. We are going to render a bunch of persistent virtual worlds that have unlimited maximum capacity, then potentially we are going to run blockchains to manage scarce digital goods inside those virtual worlds. That is a lot of compute; it is more compute than we have right now. Do you see that coming down because of Moore’s Law? Is TSMC going to figure out the next process node and we are just going to get there? Is it an agglomeration of other kinds of compute? Who builds this stuff? Where does it come from?

There are three dominant theories here. One is just Moore’s Law, slowing or not, continues to improve, and as part of that we get better at compression. We start to prune out the inelegant data formats and architectures, just like moving off of GIF to MP4 for lighter performance.

The second school is really organized around more efficient resourcing. This is the cloud argument. There are problems with it, but the argument would basically be that it is kind of stupid that we put the most intensive computing at the individual user, whose device has to be affordable, lightweight, and replaced every two to three years, versus the power plant approach of saying, “No one should have a generator in their home. We should deliver it from industrial scale.”

Then third are the bigger punts. There is a large contingent of people, Intel or TSMC, who are starting to believe that quantum computing — another idea that has long been considered fanciful — is no longer a crazy thing to believe in and ends up being essential.

The last and the most fun is decentralized computing, not necessarily in the blockchain sense, but in the solar panel sense. I am sitting talking to you right now. I have two consoles with incredible GPUs both sitting unused. There may be someone in my building right now who could use that. Right now they either do not have it, or they need to rent it from a data center that is expensive and far away, thus producing latency. Do you have a model potentially on blockchain or not? Is that a more effective system of renting out excess capacity, like a solar panel, or like Elon imagines Teslas will do in a self-driving car?

I love that idea and have heard variations of it for a decade now. I used to run SETI @ home on the computers at the college computer lab that I managed.

It is in my book. It is so fun.

It’s all right there. We have been chasing it for a minute. That requires that your personal power bill might go up and down in ways that you cannot predict. Your bandwidth might get strained in a way that you cannot predict. It would be sad if right now our call was diminished in quality because someone was running the GPU in your PS5 at 100 percent.

On top of that, at least in this country, the bandwidth required to do that is actually not evenly or equitably distributed. Some people have really fast connections, and many people have bad connections. There is virtually no competition for those connections whatsoever. You can make that bet, but you think about how it would play out in practice and it just feels like a lot of people will be selfish, first of all. That seems like a thing you can count on. Then second, the infrastructure to actually pull that off does not really exist.

I agree with you. I characterize it as the fun one because it remains the elusive one, just like when we talk about peer-to-peer servers for multiplayer games. It is a fun idea, but no one has figured out how to do it.

There are some technical solutions, of course, one of which could be that you do not necessarily need to congest the neighborhood if you geographically constrain who your GPUs are available to. You can also have different bidding. One of the problems I talk about in the book is the fact that we actually have very poor systems in TCP/IP to manage the prioritization of traffic once it leaves our network. I am not talking about paid peering or net neutrality, but literally the ability to differentiate if it needs to be there in 10 milliseconds or 50 milliseconds.

These are actually more fundamental issues. We do not have an effective way to split GPUs. It is not like you can say, “I need 80 percent of it but the remaining 20 percent can go.” I will say that there are some systems for this that are being deployed. J.J. Abrams and Ari Emanuel are on the board of a company called Otoy. They have a blockchain-based system called the Render Network, and it is designed to do exactly that.

An architectural firm that perhaps does not need its high-end GPUs overnight can rent those out on a bid-ask, blockchain-based system, and Hollywood studios do use them. This is not the expectation of every single person’s sitting devices used minute to minute, but we are starting to see it work on a more regular basis for industrial use cases with high-end, low-supply hardware. I put this in the, “if you woke up in 2045, it might be answered” bucket.

Let’s wrap up here by talking about the companies that are building this stuff now and where they are. You run an ETF called Meta that invests in various metaverse companies, and you obviously pay very close attention. Let’s start with the obvious candidate here, Meta.

In your book, you call it Facebook, because it is too confusing to call Meta “Meta” in a book with a metaverse, which I appreciate. Facebook obviously rebranded itself to Meta, Zuckerberg is all in on this pivot to the metaverse. In VR headsets at least, they are the market leader; the Quest 2 is a really good consumer product. Though I do not know if it is a metaverse product, since it is a pretty closed system. But they are ahead. How do you think they are doing and where do you think they go next?

I would say that the Oculus device is actually pretty open. They support side loading, and they do not require a central identity system. You can use alternative payment solutions for side-loaded apps, which is not even side loading, it is just not app store direct. The Oculus is unique in that it is effectively the only mainstream console that uses open standard rendering collections, WebGL, OpenGL, WebXR. Those are pretty significant. No one else did it. PlayStation 3 did, but PlayStation has never done it since.

The truth is, if you were to talk about number of users, amount of spend, number of developers, amount of developer profits, and cultural impact, they are frankly nowhere near leads like Roblox, Fortnite, Minecraft, or Unity on the B2B side. They also have a much harder path to doing that.

One of the challenges Facebook has in particular is that the economy is slowing down. Apple’s ad changes have had huge effects on Facebook’s revenue. They are trying to manage this big pivot and this bet on the future. People might buy fewer Quest consoles, and they are investing less in future hardware. Do you think they are going to be able to make it through?

The AT&T shift from Apple is particularly brutal. The estimated cost of that is $10 billion in operating cash flow in 2022. That happens to be exactly what Facebook Reality Labs was spending on their many projects, the various XR devices, the wearables, their operating system, and the Horizon Worlds platform. Anyone finding out that they are going to have $10 billion less in cash flow is going to have to trim budgets, especially in special projects with limited revenue and probably a negative 80 percent gross margin overall.

I think the biggest challenge — one that Mark has consistently underestimated, it seems — is that the timeline for those new devices, that would allow him to get out from the hegemony of Apple and Google, is probably farther out than was ever imagined.

2015 was the first time Mark said publicly that they imagined by the end of the decade, last decade, wearable headsets would replace the smartphone. They have reiterated that this decade, but as you and your colleagues have reported, they have now delayed the first edition three times. We may not see consumer AR hardware until 2025 or 2026, and he has called it the hardest technological challenge of our era, putting a supercomputer into lightweight wearables.

If that is their biggest opportunity to have hardware, to have their own operating system, and they are already sitting behind when it comes to what I call integrated virtual world platforms — Horizon versus Roblox or Fortnite Creative Mode — and they are simultaneously experiencing decline, not necessarily secular, of the core business, the timing starts to feel tight.

You said that it is the hardest technological challenge. I always think about it as a stack of problems, especially for AR glasses. You need a camera that can see the world around you in sufficient fidelity. That has to go to a processor that can interpret that data and spit out something good to put over top of it to augment reality. You need a battery that can power that processor and that camera. You almost certainly need persistent connectivity. Then most importantly, you need a display solution that actually works, which does not exist yet. Do you think Facebook is on the road to solving any or all of those problems?

I would add two more problems. It has to actually fit and weigh little enough that you are comfortable wearing it, and it has to not melt your face while you do it. Every single thing that you just mentioned trades off with one another. You want another two sensors that are good for UIX, it drains the battery and the GPU power, increasing the cost and the form factor, generating more heat.

Put another way, we take for granted that today’s most computationally powerful consumer devices, consoles, really just need to manage for a few constraints. The size, not really; the new PlayStations are four times bigger than the first PlayStation. They do not need to manage the battery, as they have constant access to power. They can put fans in there so that the overheating problem is not that bad. And they know that the build of materials has to cost between $400 and $700. When you are talking about these devices, you have several new problems: size, heat, you cannot have a fan, you need battery power, and the GPUs are smaller. All of the other things get harder despite that.

We see that Facebook is investing in its own semis and you are right, it’s the stack. All of these things need to be solved. We know that Apple is planning up to 12 or 14 cameras. I think the current Oculus has 6. Well, maybe you do need 12 or 14. Every time you put another pair in there, you are going to find that the GPU you thought was going to power experience X just cannot. It is incredibly hard.

I think that set of challenges is very difficult for Facebook. When we talk about hardware, we have to go to Apple next, which is very good at hardware. They are very good at performance chips that run a long time on batteries. There are lots of rumors about Apple’s headset out there.

But they are pretty bad at ecosystems and playing nice with others, and with interoperability. As you have mentioned with their ad tracking stuff, they are pretty good at locking things down. They are good at preventing innovation from taking place; game streaming does not exist the way it could because Apple will not allow it on their platforms. OpenSea cannot transact NFTs because they would have to pay Apple a 30 percent cut. How do you think Apple is doing?

One thing that is fun to put on the side of this is that six days before Epic Games sued Apple, Tim Sweeney, the founder and CEO, tweeted out that Apple had outlawed the metaverse. His point was exactly the cloud gaming one. I cite The Verge a few times in there with these fun quotes that basically say, “Arguing about what Apple does or does not allow is irrelevant because they can change the rules any time they want.”

The Apple constraint here is really profound. They have incredible hard, soft, and often accidental power, and they do work hard to prevent many standards and solutions coming into place.

You just teed up my favorite example, which is what happens with NFTs. Let’s keep in mind that they allow you to buy fungible tokens, ETH, on Coinbase, but you cannot buy a non-fungible token, an NFT, on Coinbase. If you choose to fractionalize an NFT into a billion fungible tokens — you could actually increase it so that there are more fractionalized tokens than there are Bitcoin tokens — that is still not allowed, even though you might own one trillionth of an NFT.

This just reflects the extent to which they are contending with not just business model disruption, but control of their own ecosystem. Outlawing is not wrong, but I think we will see how that turns out. When it comes to new hardware, it is obvious. If AR and VR are going to be things, Apple will be at least a player, but it is more likely that they have the most performance, best-looking, lightest weight, and preferred early additions. The advantages there, especially at scale and cost — development cost or production cost — are simple.

In the book you have a section about how the metaverse need not actually take place in headsets. It could be expressed in all kinds of ways. As we talk about these companies, their metaverse bets are very much headsets.

Facebook wants to be first to headsets at scale, because then they can just leave the iPhone and the complications of Apple’s platform behind. Apple does not want to have the iPhone disrupted, so they are racing towards a headset. I think Tim Cook wants to shift the AR headset as his last big reveal before he moves on in 10 years. Right now, to do a non-headset metaverse, you are kind of stuck behind whatever Apple will allow, because they are the most pervasive computing platform that exists.

That is quite right.

Is there a way around that? Do we just hope Amy Klobuchar can find the votes for her anti-trust bill, or is there a business model or industry solution that solves that?

This is where we get into some of the interesting answers. Is there a way around it? Are there alternatives? Yes and no.

Cloud gaming is a potential answer, but we should keep in mind exactly how many ways Apple stymies them. It probably works 95 percent of the time for 40 percent of users. That is not a good technical solution for a social platform, but it can work. Doing it from the browser is not a great experience. Apple, for security reasons, valid and not valid, also constrains your ability to send notifications. That is not great if I am trying to tell you to log onto Fortnite. First of all, you cannot have an app, and secondly, you don’t ever get the notification.

The other way to do it is browser-based rendering, but Apple has historically constrained WebGL, so the non-application alternative of using a browser, what they call the open web, doesn’t really work. The way in which Apple constrains WebGL is because Safari does not support it comprehensively, whereas I can download Chrome for iOS, and I am really just using the Chrome wrapper on the Safari engine. Their technical decisions for Safari mean what Google can and cannot do is inherited, and the app stores hegemony over software means that I cannot download true Chrome.

We are finding out this is why Tim sued Apple. He says that Apple has outlawed the metaverse rather than gotten in its way. A properly motivated Apple can effectively stymie most things. There is a reason why Web3 games are either based on non-real-time collecting and trading, or really primitive browser-based games, like Axie Infinity visually. You cannot pull off complex rendering without most of WebGL or a native app, and Apple will not allow it.

You mention the open web, which means we should talk about Google next. Google is Google. They have multiple competing projects. They have just restructured some things, and they have announced some little things. Are they a player?

That is a great question. Google has spent quite some time focused here. Google Glass was a famous disaster, but they have released another two versions of Google Glass, or enterprise editions. They made a billion-dollar acquisition last year, a $200 million acquisition the year before. Clay Bavor, an SVP in charge of essentially all special projects, plus AR and VR, and has been for some years, was realigned to directly report to Sundar.

It is clear that they are focused here. The problems have always been that their software is never considered best for consumer applications, their hardware has never really taken off, and their efforts in gaming have barely been funded. Many of their best potential plays, Niantic and others, were divested, spun off, or allowed to competitors.

If Android is and remains the most used ecosystem globally — it is the second highest revenue-generating games platform globally — they are likely to benefit, but the big opportunities with new hardware, a virtual world platform, or managing the standards, all seem tough. Even when you take a look at Google Cloud, it is estimated to be losing $5 or $6 billion per year. AWS has more profit than Google Cloud does in revenue. Even with the tangential argument that increased computing power is going to be good for Google, their business currently loses money every time a new server gets stood up. They are harder to see.

You mentioned AWS, so let’s keep going down the list. Amazon has some pretensions here, in the sense that they have a big hardware division that invents a bunch of stuff all the time. They have the most pervasive voice assistant, which I think is an interesting side light into the idea of a secondary world that you can interact with in different ways. Are they a player? Do you see them making an investment?

I would guess that they are number one in virtual assistant hardware, but I would also guess that Siri and Google Assistant are the most-used virtual assistants. They have the other benefit of having the device everywhere; mobile is better tailored.

Amazon is really interesting. The computing and data center business is going to be an extraordinary beneficiary. How much that moves into value-added services in machine learning and others has yet to be known. Snowflake is a good example of other companies building value-added services on top of the pure racks.

The bigger challenge is one I find really interesting. Amazon has spent a lot of time focused on more traditional media categories than it has in gaming or interactive, even though the latter seems a lot closer to their core business on the AWS side, and their success rate has been mixed. Jason Schreier at Bloomberg has estimated billions were spent into Lumberyard, their game engine. That was given over to the Linux Foundation earlier this year. Luna, their cloud gaming service, seems to have had less of an impact than Google Stadia did.

That is a very quiet burn. I just want to put that out there.

There is a good question of whether or not it is a quiet burn because they have been a lot quieter as well. Part of the problem that doomed Stadia was much bigger and more public ambitions, and much greater out-of-the-gate spend. Amazon is best in the world at the slow burn strategy and they remain committed to it, though I have not seen any big leaps.

While Amazon Game Studio has had some success with New World and others more recently, it is operating as the publisher. They are not developing the titles themselves, and they are not using AWS in an innovative or new way. As you take a look at Amazon’s interactive business, they have rewritten many job descriptions to focus on the metaverse in name. They are a big proponent of the Unreal ecosystem. They are trying to advance certain standards. But externally a lot of it still feels like more potential and conjecture than it is, as yet, a product.

I want to ask about two more here. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said the metaverse is already here, so he is buying Activision and the Xbox seems to be growing. They just keep buying everything, but they do not have great hardware. The HoloLens is not a huge success; they just shuffled that team and fired Alex Kipman, who was in charge of the HoloLens. Are they on track, or are they just going to be a horizontal software provider, which has been an enormously successful strategy for them as you pointed out?

I talk about this quite a bit in the book. There is this fascinating aspect in which the company has absolutely thrived under Satya by becoming horizontal, shedding the stack requirement and rich vertical integration.

But when Satya took over, the games business was being called on for divestment. Yet the first acquisition he did was of Minecraft. He did something really unique at the time; he committed to keeping it fully horizontal, available on all platforms, not exclusive to Xbox, and keeping it agnostic to the end point, not even preferring Xbox hardware.

It was about five or six years before he did another large acquisition, that of LinkedIn. Then you have Activision Blizzard, the most expensive big-tech acquisition in history, at $75 billion. In the opening graph, the last line, he says, “It is for the foundations of the metaverse.”

In many ways, Minecraft presaged everything that he was going to do with the strategy at large, and they have been very focused here. The number of different pieces they have is actually really exciting. I talk about Microsoft Flight Simulator as perhaps the most technically impressive consumer-deployed, persistent live digital twin or metaverse-style experience that any of us can do.

This is a company where, putting aside the fact they were public about the metaverse before Facebook was, it feels like execution of bringing the pieces together — which is the same for Google and Amazon, but less clear — could be extraordinary for them. I think that is why you have always seen this commitment, and why he is so quick to bet FTC scrutiny, DOJ scrutiny, and $75 billion to build it.

I could keep doing companies forever. It’s a fun game, but I want to actually end on the regulatory scrutiny piece.

This space is unregulated, in a way that if you make the comparison to the early internet, it is very different. The early internet was a government project. There was the idea that we would keep regulators away from it. Even that decision to keep regulators away is, itself, a regulatory decision, and then you had all of the public investment into the internet around the world.

That is not happening here, right? This is all a purely private company kind of investment. Regulators seem like they have no idea what to do here, in the same way that even regulators have no idea what to do with crypto, but they have a lot of ideas. Here it is just silence. Where do you think that comes into play? Where do you think the government comes into play here with the metaverse?

The interesting thing about regulators leaving their hands off the internet is, of course, that the internet came from government. Many of its foundational bodies, the internet engineering task force that stewards most of TCP/IP, was developed by DOD and then relinquished, but is still strongly influenced by government. One of the reasons why governments left it was because there were pretty strong and important self-regulating bodies that worked together effectively that they had helped to create.

You are right that we do not see this here, but I actually think it is changing pretty quickly. Yesterday the EU released their Think Tank’s Policy Memorandum. The chief negotiator of the EU for the Digital Services Act has been very critical and very vocal about what they need. The South Korean government has established the South Korean Metaverse Alliance, an effectively required body that is also effectively mandating national standards.

Their perspective seems to be that the standards group will force things that many do not want and are individually disadvantaged by, but to the national benefit. Of course in China, which is a whole other issue, I do not think it is a coincidence that just after Tencent unveiled its Hyper Digital Reality vision — which is their essential trademark for the metaverse — they began the biggest ever crackdown of the space.

I think the US is probably the furthest behind, in at least formal recommendations. I think that in many territories — Southeast Asia, China, and the EU — governments seem very focused on this now in a way that surprises and inspires me. The fact that it coincides with regulation designed to fix the problems of the past 15 years raises the specter of accidental damage to an area that does not really exist yet. I am more hopeful that it actually sets us on a clearer path, rather than 15 years of catch-up.

Let’s end with a look to the future. I think one of the things that you and I would both agree on is that this is not going to be a light switch. The metaverse is not going to just turn on one day; it is going to happen to us slowly over time. I am curious. In that big picture, what is the sign post for you that the metaverse is more likely than not, or that it has arrived in a real way? What would be the indicator for you?

The indicator that I would pay attention to is the early demographic transition. Seventy-five percent of those ages 9 to 12 in most Western markets use Roblox, and just Roblox, on a regular basis. That is not to say that they do not use other things. We know fundamentally that Gen Y games more than Gen X, Gen Z more than Gen Y, and Gen A more than Gen Z, and that trend is not turning around.

I think the big things that I am getting excited about are the industrial applications, the deployment in what we call ACE — architecture, construction, and engineering. The challenge with those is that lead times are long. You have to convince businesses to use new technology to solve problems they are not used to solving. They have to then deploy them, and they have to get good at using them. They need to start to share with the city and with other partners.

Once we actually find a way to make development of the real world more productive, to live-operate businesses and infrastructure together — which can be as simple as lighting systems in a smart city with proper civil engineering — that is what gets exciting to me.

Matt, this has been incredible. I could keep going for another hour. Thank you so much for being on Decoder.

Thank you.

Tue, 19 Jul 2022 03:00:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.theverge.com/23269170/what-is-the-metaverse-matthew-ball-interview-decoder-podcast
Killexams : Dow Analyst Moves: IBM No result found, try new keyword!T he latest tally of analyst opinions from the major brokerage houses shows that among the 30 stocks making up the Dow Jones Industrial Average, International Business Machines is the #22 analyst pick ... Mon, 01 Aug 2022 03:46:00 -0500 text/html https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/dow-analyst-moves%3A-ibm-2 Killexams : Amazon.com Announces Second Quarter Results

SEATTLE, July 28, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced financial results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2022.

  • Operating cash flow decreased 40% to $35.6 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $59.3 billion for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2021.

  • Free cash flow decreased to an outflow of $23.5 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with an inflow of $12.1 billion for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2021.

  • Free cash flow less principal repayments of finance leases and financing obligations decreased to an outflow of $33.5 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with an inflow of $0.6 billion for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2021.

  • Free cash flow less equipment finance leases and principal repayments of all other finance leases and financing obligations decreased to an outflow of $26.1 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with an inflow of $4.2 billion for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2021.

  • Common shares outstanding plus shares underlying stock-based awards totaled 10.6 billion on June 30, 2022, compared with 10.4 billion one year ago. All share and per share information throughout this release has been retroactively adjusted to reflect the 20-for-1 stock split effected on May 27, 2022.

  • Net sales increased 7% to $121.2 billion in the second quarter, compared with $113.1 billion in second quarter 2021. Excluding the $3.6 billion unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales increased 10% compared with second quarter 2021.

  • Net loss was $2.0 billion in the second quarter, or $0.20 per diluted share, compared with net income of $7.8 billion, or $0.76 per diluted share, in second quarter 2021. Second quarter 2022 net loss includes a pre-tax valuation loss of $3.9 billion included in non-operating expense from our common stock investment in Rivian Automotive, Inc.

"Despite continued inflationary pressures in fuel, energy, and transportation costs, we’re making progress on the more controllable costs we referenced last quarter, particularly improving the productivity of our fulfillment network," said Andy Jassy, Amazon CEO. "We’re also seeing revenue accelerate as we continue to make Prime even better for members, both investing in faster shipping speeds, and adding unique benefits such as free delivery from Grubhub for a year, exclusive access to NFL Thursday Night Football games starting September 15, and releasing the highly anticipated series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on September 2."

Highlights

Shopping Innovation

  • Prime members worldwide shopped more and saved more this Prime Day than any other Prime Day event, purchasing more than 300 million items and saving more than $1.7 billion. On July 12 and July 13, Prime members worldwide purchased more than 100,000 items per minute, and some of the best-selling categories were Amazon Devices, Consumer Electronics, and Home. Amazon Devices had a record-breaking Prime Day, selling more devices than any other Prime Day event.

  • Prime continued to provide even more value to members around the world. In the U.S., Amazon introduced new offers for Prime members, including a free one-year Grubhub+ membership, a new year-round 20% discount on select everyday essentials at Amazon Fresh stores, and exclusive deals on home entertainment items and merchandise to help prepare for NFL Thursday Night Football. Additionally, Prime Student members get six months free of a LinkedIn Premium subscription.

  • Amazon introduced new ways for customers to support and discover small businesses selling in Amazon’s store, including the Small Business Badge, which helps customers find and shop products from small business brands and artisans, and This Is Small Business, a new podcast dedicated to sharing stories from small business owners about pivotal moments in starting, building, and scaling their businesses. This year was also the biggest Prime Day event for Amazon’s selling partners, most of which are small and medium-sized businesses, whose sales growth in Amazon’s store outpaced Amazon’s first-party sales. Customers spent over $3 billion on more than 100 million small business items included in the Support Small Businesses to Win Big sweepstakes, which offered customers the chance to win prizes when shopping from small businesses leading up to Prime Day.

  • Amazon continues to invent new fashion shopping experiences for customers, launching Virtual Try-On for Shoes, where shoppers can virtually try on thousands of sneaker styles, and Luxury Stores at Amazon in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, where customers can shop established and emerging luxury fashion brands online. Amazon Style, Amazon’s first-ever physical store for apparel, opened in Glendale, California, to help customers discover new looks through a personalized shopping experience. Amazon Style uses machine learning algorithms to produce tailored recommendations for customers as they shop. In the fitting room, customers can use touchscreens to browse more options and request additional styles and sizes. Amazon also expanded its selection of size-inclusive fashion to include a collection from designer Jonathan Cohen and a new co-brand between Amazon and Making The Cut Season Two winner Andrea Pitter called TEREA.

  • Amazon announced that later this year, Amazon customers in Lockeford, California, and College Station, Texas, will be among the first to receive Prime Air drone deliveries in the U.S. Customers will have the option to receive free and fast drone delivery on thousands of everyday items—the largest selection of items ever to be available for drone delivery.

  • Amazon continues to collaborate with leading retailers and stadiums to equip third-party locations with Just Walk Out technology for checkout-free shopping and Amazon One for palm recognition and payment service. accurate store openings include the Walk-Off Market food and beverage store at T-Mobile Park in Seattle and the Hudson Nonstop store in Nashville International Airport. Additionally, three stores will open at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field later this year. The combination of technologies gives shoppers the option to enter a store by inserting their credit card at the entry gate or hovering their palm over an Amazon One device. Once inside, shoppers can take what they want and leave without stopping to check out.

  • Amazon continued to expand its grocery store footprint by opening 12 Amazon Fresh stores across the U.S. and the UK, and introduced new innovations to Excellerate the shopping experience for customers, including the next generation Amazon Dash Cart. Amazon Dash Cart is a smart shopping cart that uses computer vision algorithms and sensor fusion to help identify items placed in a cart, so customers can skip the checkout line when they are done shopping. With the new Dash Cart, which is also expanding to its first Whole Foods Market store, shoppers can fit more items into their cart, bring the cart to their car, and easily search for specific items on the cart’s screen.

  • Amazon announced Store Analytics, a new service that provides brands with aggregated and anonymized insights about the performance of their products, promotions, and ad campaigns in applicable stores. Store Analytics is available at Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh stores in the U.S. that are enabled with Just Walk Out technology and Amazon Dash Carts.

  • Amazon continues to Excellerate its shopping experience for U.S. customers who use SNAP EBT, the federal program that helps families purchase groceries. The company expanded the program so that beneficiaries in 48 states and Washington, D.C.—covering more than 99% of SNAP households—can now use their SNAP benefits to shop for groceries at Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh, and Whole Foods Market.

  • Amazon released its second Brand Protection Report, which details how the company safeguards customers, brands, and selling partners from counterfeit products. Amazon identified, seized, and appropriately disposed of more than 3 million counterfeit products, preventing them from harming customers or being resold elsewhere in the retail supply chain. In 2021, the company employed more than 12,000 people and invested more than $900 million to protect its store from counterfeit, fraud, and other forms of abuse so customers can continue to shop with confidence.

  • Amazon filed legal action against the administrators of more than 10,000 Facebook groups that attempt to orchestrate fake reviews on Amazon in exchange for money or free products. These groups are set up to recruit individuals willing to post incentivized and misleading reviews on Amazon’s stores in the U.S., the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan. Amazon will use information discovered from this legal action to identify bad actors and remove fake reviews commissioned by these fraudsters that haven’t already been detected by Amazon’s advanced technology, expert investigators, and continuous monitoring.

  • Amazon Ads launched Amazon Marketing Stream (Beta), a product that automatically delivers hourly Sponsored Products campaign metrics to advertisers or agencies through the Amazon Ads API. The Stream provides near real-time performance insights to enable more effective campaign optimization, more agility in responding to campaign changes, and increased operational efficiency to help drive business growth for advertisers.

  • The second re:MARS conference took place in Las Vegas, and Amazon welcomed nearly 7,000 attendees, in person and virtually, to hear from top academics and experts in machine learning, automation, robotics, and space. This year’s event featured innovations from across Amazon, along with demos of Amazon’s Just Walk Out Experiential Mock Store, Boston Dynamics’ Spot® agile robot on AWS, Alexa Smart Home featuring the Astro household robot, and the Lunar Outpost lunar surface rover built on AWS.

Entertainment

  • Former NFL quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman will join Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez as analysts for Prime Video’s NFL Thursday Night Football pregame, halftime, and postgame coverage. Veteran sports anchor Charissa Thompson will host the shows. Legendary sportscaster Al Michaels and Emmy-winning analyst Kirk Herbstreit will call the live action games.

  • Prime Video received 30 Emmy nominations, and MGM received seven nominations. Prime Video’s nominations included The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Lucy and Desi, Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, The Academy of Country Music Awards, The Boys Presents: Diabolical, Goliath, Savage X Fenty Show, and A Very British Scandal. MGM’s nominations included Vikings: Valhalla, The Voice, Shark Tank, and Survivor.

  • The Boys continued to grow its audience with the debut of Season Three. Over its premiere weekend, the Emmy-nominated superhero drama increased its worldwide audience by 234% from Season One and 17% from Season Two.

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power continued to build anticipation in the lead-up to premiere. The release of new images, a teaser trailer, and a 60-second sneak peek for Prime members on Prime Day all preceded the debut of a highly anticipated three-minute trailer at San Diego Comic-Con. The long trailer was unveiled to a crowd of 6,500 fans during a panel with the show’s cast—moderated by Stephen Colbert—in the convention’s largest venue before being released globally. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power launches exclusively on Prime Video in 240 countries and territories and 33 different languages on September 2.

  • Prime Video debuted five new Original series: The Terminal List, starring Chris Pratt; The Summer I Turned Pretty; Chloe; The One That Got Away; and Forever Summer: Hamptons. In addition, adult animated series Undone and Fairfax each returned for second seasons. Prime Video premiered three new Original movies: Sundance Film Festival award-winner Emergency; Don’t Make Me Go, starring John Cho and Mia Isaac; and Anything’s Possible, directed by Billy Porter.

  • Prime Video’s robust international slate grew with the debut of more than 25 local Originals and live sporting events. New global programming includes Yosi, the Regretful Spy (Argentina), The Kids in the Hall (Canada), Modern Love Mumbai (India), Bang Bang Baby (Italy), and Lovestruck High (UK). Sports programming includes Roland-Garros French Open tennis in France, the Australian Swimming Championships, and live boxing in Japan.

  • The ad-supported, free streaming content service Amazon Freevee received its first major award win for Judy Justice, starring Judge Judy Sheindlin, which earned a Daytime Emmy. Freevee also premiered three new Original series—Bosch: Legacy, one of the 10 most-streamed shows across all services in May, according to streaming hub Reelgood; crime drama Troppo; and home-renovation series Hollywood Houselift with Jeff Lewis—and one Original film, Love Accidentally.

  • Prime Video Channels expanded its portfolio to offer more premium Spanish-language content with the addition of Vix+, TelevisaUnivisions’ streaming service. Prime Video Channels offer customers additional paid subscriptions to third-party premium networks and other streaming entertainment channels, such as discovery+, Paramount+, AMC+, Globo, BET+, NBA League Pass, MLB.TV, STARZ, and SHOWTIME.

  • Amazon Music brought epic live performances to customers streaming on the Amazon Music Twitch channel and on Prime Video, including performances from global superstars Maluma and Carrie Underwood, as well as Pharrell Williams’ Something In The Water festival, which featured Tyler The Creator, Jon Batiste, Pusha T, and Pharrell Williams.

  • Amazon’s podcast streaming service, Wondery, partnered with Dolby Atmos, an audio technology provider, to become the first such service in the U.S. to deliver immersive audio. Dolby Atmos-enabled titles will be available to stream exclusively on the Wondery+ subscription service in 30 countries. Wondery also brought more original content to its global audience, including local-language translations of the investigative series Harsh Reality: The Story of Miriam Rivera; Business Wars in Spain and Italy; and original dating show Queen of Hearts worldwide.

  • Audible signed a deal with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, to create a slate of Audible shows. This new partnership reflects the companies’ shared mission to tell meaningful and entertaining stories that elevate diverse voices and experiences.

Devices and Services

  • Automakers continue to launch Alexa integrations in new vehicle models, including the 2023 Acura Integra, 2023 GM Equinox, and 2022 Lucid Air. With Alexa Built-in, customers can ask Alexa to navigate, play music and audiobooks, share the news, check the weather, control smart home devices, pay for gas, and find parking. Customers can also remotely control their vehicle from home by asking Alexa to lock or unlock the car doors, check gas levels or charging range, and start or stop the engine. These automakers join other companies with existing integrations such as Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Jaguar-Land Rover, Jeep, Mahindra, Rivian, and Volkswagen.

  • Amazon added new features to Alexa Together, a service that helps aging family members feel more comfortable and confident living independently. Up to 10 caregivers can remotely support their aging loved one’s Alexa devices from afar with the Circle of Support feature, and the Remote Assist feature allows caregivers to remotely set up Alexa Routines, such as locking the door and turning off the lights at a certain time of night.

  • Amazon launched new features to make Alexa smarter, more proactive, and more personal. Customers can now opt in to receive proactive notifications from Alexa about their favorite sports team, weather updates in their area, and when it’s time to refill their prescriptions. Additionally, Call Captioning, which shows captions on Echo Show devices during Alexa video calls, now supports Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

  • Amazon now has over 1 million registered developers, brands, and device makers building with Alexa. The company continues to invent new ways for these builders to increase revenue and customer engagement, including the Alexa Routines Kit, which enables developers to configure and offer Alexa Routines to customers when they interact with a skill. For example, developers can integrate their skills into a customer’s morning routine, along with other Alexa experiences like smart home controls and music.

  • Amazon introduced the next generation of Fire 7 and Fire 7 Kids, bringing more speed, performance, and value to the company’s most popular and affordable tablet.

  • Amazon introduced new smart TVs with Fire TV built-in from Hisense and Xiaomi. With Fire TV built-in, customers get a content-driven viewing experience, a simple and intuitive user interface, Alexa, and hands-free TV control.

  • Blink launched the first Blink Video Doorbell in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK.

Amazon Web Services

  • AWS continues to be the most broadly adopted set of cloud infrastructure services and announced new commitments and migrations from customers across many industries and geographies.

    • Travel and hospitality: Delta Air Lines selected AWS as preferred cloud provider to accelerate its digital business transformation and reimagine the travel experience. Using AWS, Delta will deliver new digital travel services, streamline its operations, enhance customer service from the booking process to the flight experience, and provide cloud training to employees globally.

    • Media and entertainment: Riot Games and AWS have teamed up to bring AWS’s data analytics integration to esports broadcasts for the first time, through Riot’s League of Legends, VALORANT, and League of Legends: Wild Rift esports leagues. AWS will also power Riot’s new cloud-first remote broadcast centers, which will support Riot’s current and future ambitions to reimagine entertainment experiences for billions of fans worldwide.

    • Telecommunications: The UK’s largest telecommunications company, BT, selected AWS as preferred cloud provider to transform legacy infrastructure and internal applications to a new cloud-first architecture. This will simplify BT’s current information technology (IT) footprint, enabling it to more rapidly serve customers and reducing costs in IT maintenance.

    • Financial services: Investment banking firm Jefferies will migrate all its IT systems to AWS, including internal and customer-facing applications, IT resources, and companywide data, as it looks to modernize its technology infrastructure, accelerate new digital services, realize operational efficiencies, and increase security and reliability.

    • Health care and life sciences: Health and wellness organization Geisinger selected AWS as its strategic cloud provider. Geisinger will migrate its entire digital portfolio of more than 400 applications and numerous workflows to AWS, which will enable lifesaving technologies and save Geisinger several million dollars annually.

    • Manufacturing: Sweden-based SKF, the leading manufacturer of bearings, collaborated with AWS to launch a fully automated, condition-monitoring solution for industrial machine reliability and predictive maintenance. This helps manufacturers monitor equipment, detect anomalies, and avoid unexpected machine failures in their facilities.

    • Energy: Italian multinational energy company Eni worked with AWS to integrate its proprietary data platform XWARE with the built-for-the-cloud Open Subsurface Data Universe on AWS to increase interoperability between applications, enabling accelerated data exchange, enhanced security, and deeper insights. Using AWS’s machine learning, business intelligence, and storage capabilities, Australia’s Electric Mine Consortium built the world’s first mining data platform for the creation of a cleaner, more electrified future in mining. The platform will drive decarbonization among mining companies, accelerate the electrification of mine sites at scale, and capture real-time information on mine decarbonization globally.

  • AWS added to its more than 200 products and services to help customers lower costs, increase agility, and innovate faster.

    • AWS continues to innovate in generalized central processing units (CPUs) and announced the general availability of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) C7g instances, the next generation of compute-optimized instances powered by AWS-designed Graviton3 processors. Graviton3 processors provide up to 25% better performance for compute-intensive applications than C6g instances powered by AWS Graviton2 processors, which deliver up to 40% better price performance over comparable current generation x86-based instances. Graviton3 processors also use up to 60% less energy for the same performance than comparable EC2 instances.

    • AWS continues to transform how customers perform analytics by offering serverless options for Amazon Redshift, Amazon Managed Streaming for Apache Kafka (Amazon MSK), and Amazon EMR. Serverless options take the guesswork out of configuring infrastructure at any scale, so enterprises can expand the use of analytics in their organizations without needing to configure, scale, or manage the underlying infrastructure.

    • AWS announced the general availability of AWS Mainframe Modernization, as it further expands support for every type of workload. AWS Mainframe Modernization makes it faster and easier for customers to modernize mainframe-based workloads by moving them to the cloud, with no upfront costs or underlying infrastructure to manage.

    • AWS announced the general availability of AWS Cloud WAN, a managed wide area network service that makes it faster and easier to build, manage, and monitor a unified network that spans multiple locations and seamlessly connects cloud and on-premises environments. AWS Cloud WAN connects data centers, branch offices, and cloud resources into a single, centrally managed network that reduces operational cost and complexity while improving network health, performance, and security, so enterprises can remove the need to individually configure and manage multiple networks using different technologies.

  • AWS strengthened its partner network of more than 100,000 systems integrators and independent software vendors from around the world that adapt their technology to run on or integrate with AWS.

    • IBM expanded its relationship with AWS and will offer its software catalog as-a-Service (SaaS) on AWS, providing customers quick and easy access to IBM’s automation, data and AI, security, and sustainability software.

    • AWS was named MongoDB’s 2022 Cloud (Co-Sell) Partner of the Year for jointly winning new deals and helping customers modernize around the world.

    • AWS was named Splunk’s 2022 Global Cloud Partner of the Year and announced a new Customer Immersion Experience Center in Splunk’s London office to demonstrate the benefit that data and digital transformation can have on innovation and cost reduction.

  • AWS announced that it remotely operated an AWS Snowcone, an ultra-portable data transfer and edge computing device, on the International Space Station to process data on orbit for the first time as part of a private Axiom Space mission. The portable data storage and transfer device processed photos from onboard research experiments and optimized the limited bandwidth available between the space station and Earth. The operation showed that it is possible to extend AWS’s cloud computing hardware to space and will allow AWS to better support future customer space missions.

  • AWS and Amazon Ads launched Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) Insights on AWS. The new solution helps advertisers and agencies easily use AWS services when running Amazon Ads campaigns to analyze and generate reporting from the Amazon Marketing Cloud API, reducing their development time from weeks to hours. With a few clicks, AMC users can monitor ongoing ad campaign performance across reach, frequency, geography, audience, and device type to better understand how to maximize ad spend.

Investing in Employees and Our Workplace

  • In the first six months of 2022, more than 25,000 employees worldwide joined Amazon’s Career Choice program—taking advantage of benefits such as fully funded college tuition, new industry certifications, courses to Excellerate English language proficiency, and high school completion programs. Since 2012, more than 80,000 employees have participated in Career Choice, one of nine upskilling programs offered by Amazon as part of its $1.2 billion commitment to upskill more than 300,000 Amazon employees by 2025.

  • More than 90 companies, including Cummins, John Deere, The Boeing Company, and United Airlines, have joined Amazon and the National Safety Council (NSC) in a first-of-its kind pledge to reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), the most common workplace injury, by 25% by 2025. The pledge is part of the five-year partnership between Amazon and the NSC to reduce MSDs and Excellerate workplace safety for millions of workers worldwide.

  • Amazon is testing new robotic technologies to create a safer workplace for employees and Excellerate the customer experience.

    • Proteus, Amazon’s first fully autonomous mobile robot, uses advanced safety, perception, and navigation technology developed by Amazon to move objects through the company’s operation facilities. Proteus navigates around employees—meaning it does not need to be confined to restricted areas.

    • Cardinal is a robotic workcell that uses advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision to handle lifting and turning of large or heavy packages and complicated packing in a confined space.

    • Amazon Robotics Identification is an AI-powered scanning capability that was developed based on employee feedback. It uses innovative computer vision and machine learning technology to enable easier scanning of packages in facilities.

    • Containerized Storage System is a robotic system that delivers products to employees in a more ergonomically friendly manner, reducing the need for employees to reach up, bend down, or climb ladders when retrieving items.

  • Amazon was named No. 1 on LinkedIn’s Top Companies in Retail, a new list that ranks the industry’s 25 best U.S. companies to grow a career in, based on LinkedIn’s data. LinkedIn highlighted Amazon’s benefits, such as up to 20 weeks of fully paid leave for new and expectant parents, weekly pay, and various apprenticeship and certification opportunities.

  • For the fifth year in a row, Amazon was included on the Disability Equality Index’s Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion.

  • Throughout the month of June, Amazon celebrated "Pride Out Loud" by amplifying the stories and lives of LGBTQIA+ employees, customers, and communities across the business. From operations to entertainment, the company supported more than 95 employee events around the world, sponsored local Pride celebrations in cities across the U.S., and donated to organizations that impact the lives of LGBTQIA+ youth.

  • In celebration of Juneteenth, Amazon launched a comprehensive inclusive learning campaign for Amazon employees worldwide, featuring diversity, equity, and inclusion resources, programs and events, and interactive learning experiences, including a sit-down with Dr. Russell Wigginton, the president of the National Civil Rights Museum.

  • Amazon launched its latest employee learning and development program, Day 1 Manager Onboarding, to accelerate new people-managers’ growth and development. The personalized learning program helps managers strengthen their understanding of Amazon’s culture, support employee career growth, and build high-performing teams through coursework on subjects such as how to use leadership principles when making decisions and in common management scenarios.

Supporting Communities, Selling Partners, and the Economy

  • Amazon continues to support individuals and organizations impacted by the war in Ukraine. AWS is helping Ukraine build up cybersecurity defenses and has already migrated 10 petabytes (10 million gigabytes) of essential data to the cloud from 27 Ukrainian ministries, 18 Ukrainian universities, the country’s largest remote learning K–12 school, and dozens of private-sector companies like PrivatBank, which serves 40% of the Ukrainian population and worked with AWS to securely migrate all its operations to the cloud in less than 45 days. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy awarded AWS the Ukraine Peace Prize for preserving the country’s digital infrastructure by migrating state registries and critical databases to AWS. Since the start of the war, Amazon has donated more than 2 million products to over 45 organizations supporting refugees, including 200,000 hygiene kits packed by Amazon employees around the world.

  • In partnership with Welcome.US and resettlement agencies across the U.S., Amazon created the Welcome Essentials initiative using Amazon’s logistics expertise and product selection to offer refugee families free delivery of essential products, like furniture and household items, to help more than 1,000 families resettling in more than 40 cities in the U.S. this year. On top of this logistics support, Amazon has committed $2 million in donations of essential products to supporting partners.

  • Amazon doubled the capacity of its Humanitarian Relief Hub in Atlanta to 1 million critical relief supplies that are ready to ship to communities in the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, and Central America that have been affected by natural disasters. The facility has 20,000 cubic feet of storage space dedicated to relief items, and Amazon works with humanitarian partners around the world to deploy essential supplies when a disaster strikes, using Amazon’s global logistics network. Since 2017, Amazon has provided more than 18 million items to support relief partners worldwide during 81 natural disasters.

  • With $96 million in cash donations to more than 180 organizations, Amazon was recognized by the Puget Sound Business Journal as the top corporate philanthropist in its home state of Washington. These contributions were part of Amazon’s total global donations of more than $360 million last year.

  • Amazon was awarded the Defender of Innocence Award by the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project. This award recognized Amazon’s legal department for its pro bono work to prevent and correct the conviction of innocent people in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Over the past few years, 120 Amazon lawyers in more than 14 countries have spent hundreds of hours screening, evaluating, and litigating cases for the organization—more time, people, and resources than any other company or law firm.

  • Amazon announced additional investments in affordable housing projects in its hometown communities through the Amazon Housing Equity Fund’s $2 billion commitment. The Fund invested more than $30 million to create and preserve 705 affordable homes in Nashville, Tennessee, and in Seattle. The projects are in neighborhoods facing increasing rents and displacement pressures, and five out of the six investments are with local minority-led organizations. Since the launch of the Fund in 2021, Amazon has created or preserved over 8,000 affordable homes, increasing the affordable housing inventory in Bellevue, Washington, and Arlington, Virginia, by at least 20% in one year.

  • In India, Amazon raised its pledge to now enable $20 billion in cumulative exports by 2025. Since launching in 2015, Amazon’s Global Selling program has grown to more than 100,000 exporters that are showcasing millions of Made in India products to customers worldwide through Amazon’s store. Indian exporters are on track to surpass $5 billion in cumulative exports. In Italy, Amazon announced a new pledge to help the more than 18,000 small and medium-sized businesses selling on Amazon reach €1.2 billion in annual export sales by 2025. This pledge will support the objectives of the Italian government’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan while ensuring a wider availability of original Italian products to customers worldwide.

  • In India, Amazon launched Smart Commerce, a new initiative to further digitize local retail stores by enabling them to create customized online storefronts and provide an enhanced in-store shopping experience. Stores of any size will now take advantage of Amazon’s shopping innovations, logistics, and digital payments to provide a reliable and trustworthy experience for customers in store, directly through their dedicated online storefronts or on Amazon.in. There are more than 150,000 local stores already selling on Amazon.in, and Amazon is committed to digitizing 10 million small businesses, including local stores, by 2025.

  • AWS announced that it selected 34 startups to receive funding and guidance across three accelerators in Sustainable Cities, Space, and Clean Energy. Each startup is eligible to receive technical guidance, business development and strategy support, collaboration opportunities with AWS customers and members of the AWS Partner Network, and up to $100,000 in AWS promotional credits.

Protecting the Planet

  • In the U.S., Amazon started making customer deliveries with its custom Rivian electric delivery vehicles (EDVs). This rollout is the start of what Amazon plans to be thousands of EDVs in more than 100 cities by the end of 2022—and 100,000 EDVs across the U.S. by 2030. In India, Amazon signed an agreement with Tata Motors to include the new Tata Ace electric vehicle as part of Amazon’s delivery fleet. The new EDV was co-developed with Amazon and will contribute to the company’s goal of having 10,000 EDVs on the road in India by 2025. In the UK, Amazon announced the launch of its first micromobility hub for more sustainable deliveries in central London. E-cargo bikes and walkers from the new hub, along with Amazon’s electric fleet already on London’s roads, will make over 5 million deliveries a year across more than 10% of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone.

  • Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund made new investments in Electric Hydrogen and Sunfire, two developers of electrolyzer technologies. Electrolyzer technology makes green hydrogen using water and renewable electricity. The Fund has announced investments in 18 companies to date as part of its mission to invest in visionary companies whose products and solutions will facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy.

  • The Climate Pledge announced a collaboration with the National Geographic Society to fund 15 National Geographic Explorers as they document the global climate crisis as part of the Society’s Global Storytellers Fund. The collaboration will advance early career and established storytellers—including photographers, writers, and filmmakers—with the funding, training, and exposure necessary to help inspire global audiences and drive urgent action against the climate crisis.

Financial Guidance

The following forward-looking statements reflect Amazon.com’s expectations as of July 28, 2022, and are subject to substantial uncertainty. Our results are inherently unpredictable and may be materially affected by many factors, such as uncertainty regarding the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, changes in global economic conditions and customer demand and spending, inflation, regional labor market and global supply chain constraints, world events, the rate of growth of the Internet, online commerce, and cloud services, and the various factors detailed below. This guidance reflects our estimates as of July 28, 2022 regarding the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operations as well as the effect of other factors discussed above.

Third Quarter 2022 Guidance

  • Net sales are expected to be between $125.0 billion and $130.0 billion, or to grow between 13% and 17% compared with third quarter 2021. This guidance anticipates an unfavorable impact of approximately 390 basis points from foreign exchange rates.

  • This guidance assumes, among other things, that no additional business acquisitions, restructurings, or legal settlements are concluded.

A conference call will be webcast live today at 2:30 p.m. PT/5:30 p.m. ET, and will be available for at least three months at amazon.com/ir. This call will contain forward-looking statements and other material information regarding the Company’s financial and operating results.

These forward-looking statements are inherently difficult to predict. actual results and outcomes could differ materially for a variety of reasons, including, in addition to the factors discussed above, the amount that Amazon.com invests in new business opportunities and the timing of those investments, the mix of products and services sold to customers, the mix of net sales derived from products as compared with services, the extent to which we owe income or other taxes, competition, management of growth, potential fluctuations in operating results, international growth and expansion, the outcomes of claims, litigation, government investigations, and other proceedings, fulfillment, sortation, delivery, and data center optimization, risks of inventory management, variability in demand, the degree to which the Company enters into, maintains, and develops commercial agreements, proposed and completed acquisitions and strategic transactions, payments risks, and risks of fulfillment throughput and productivity. Other risks and uncertainties include, among others, risks related to new products, services, and technologies, system interruptions, government regulation and taxation, and fraud. In addition, global economic conditions and additional or unforeseen effects from the COVID-19 pandemic amplify many of these risks. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com’s financial results is included in Amazon.com’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), including its most accurate Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.

Our investor relations website is amazon.com/ir and we encourage investors to use it as a way of easily finding information about us. We promptly make available on this website, free of charge, the reports that we file or furnish with the SEC, corporate governance information (including our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics), and select press releases, which may contain material information about us, and you may subscribe to be notified of new information posted to this site.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Amazon strives to be Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company, Earth’s Best Employer, and Earth’s Safest Place to Work. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Career Choice, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, Alexa, Just Walk Out technology, Amazon Studios, and The Climate Pledge are some of the things pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

AMAZON.COM, INC.

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

(in millions)

(unaudited)

Three Months Ended
June 30,

Six Months Ended
June 30,

Twelve Months Ended
June 30,

2021

2022

2021

2022

2021

2022

CASH, CASH EQUIVALENTS, AND RESTRICTED CASH, BEGINNING OF PERIOD

$

34,155

$

36,599

$

42,377

$

36,477

$

37,842

$

40,667

OPERATING ACTIVITIES:

Net income (loss)

7,778

(2,028

)

15,885

(5,872

)

29,438

11,607

Adjustments to reconcile net income (loss) to net cash from operating activities:

Depreciation and amortization of property and equipment and capitalized content costs, operating lease assets, and other

8,038

9,594

15,546

18,572

29,687

37,322

Stock-based compensation

3,591

5,209

5,897

8,459

10,747

15,319

Other operating expense (income), net

18

122

48

337

(372

)

426

Other expense (income), net

(1,258

)

6,104

(2,714

)

14,793

(5,092

)

3,201

Deferred income taxes

701

(1,955

)

2,404

(3,956

)

1,063

(6,670

)

Changes in operating assets and liabilities:

Inventories

(209

)

(3,890

)

(513

)

(6,504

)

(4,082

)

(15,478

)

Accounts receivable, net and other

(4,462

)

(6,799

)

(6,717

)

(8,315

)

(13,294

)

(19,761

)

Accounts payable

47

3,699

(8,219

)

(5,681

)

8,689

6,140

Accrued expenses and other

(1,685

)

(1,412

)

(5,745

)

(7,315

)

1,071

553

Unearned revenue

156

321

1,056

1,657

1,467

2,915

Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities

12,715

8,965

16,928

6,175

59,322

35,574

INVESTING ACTIVITIES:

Purchases of property and equipment

(14,288

)

(15,724

)

(26,370

)

(30,675

)

(52,256

)

(65,358

)

Proceeds from property and equipment sales and incentives

1,300

1,626

2,195

2,835

5,080

6,297

Acquisitions, net of cash acquired, and other

(320

)

(259

)

(950

)

(6,600

)

(3,066

)

(7,635

)

Sales and maturities of marketable securities

13,213

2,608

31,039

25,361

61,512

53,706

Purchases of marketable securities

(21,985

)

(329

)

(36,660

)

(2,093

)

(74,929

)

(25,590

)

Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities

(22,080

)

(12,078

)

(30,746

)

(11,172

)

(63,659

)

(38,580

)

FINANCING ACTIVITIES:

Common stock repurchased

(3,334

)

(6,000

)

(6,000

)

Proceeds from short-term debt, and other

1,176

4,865

3,102

18,608

6,848

23,462

Repayments of short-term debt, and other

(1,176

)

(7,610

)

(3,177

)

(13,841

)

(6,817

)

(18,417

)

Proceeds from long-term debt

18,516

12,824

18,627

12,824

19,158

13,200

Repayments of long-term debt

(41

)

(1

)

(80

)

(1

)

(1,392

)

(1,511

)

Principal repayments of finance leases

(2,804

)

(2,059

)

(6,210

)

(4,836

)

(11,435

)

(9,789

)

Principal repayments of financing obligations

(28

)

(59

)

(95

)

(138

)

(116

)

(205

)

Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities

15,643

4,626

12,167

6,616

6,246

740

Foreign currency effect on cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash

234

(412

)

(59

)

(396

)

916

(701

)

Net increase (decrease) in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash

6,512

1,101

(1,710

)

1,223

2,825

(2,967

)

CASH, CASH EQUIVALENTS, AND RESTRICTED CASH, END OF PERIOD

$

40,667

$

37,700

$

40,667

$

37,700

$

40,667

$

37,700

SUPPLEMENTAL CASH FLOW INFORMATION:

Cash paid for interest on debt

$

179

$

349

$

455

$

628

$

942

$

1,271

Cash paid for operating leases

1,577

2,088

3,217

4,455

5,577

7,960

Cash paid for interest on finance leases

129

95

286

202

569

437

Cash paid for interest on financing obligations

35

55

68

113

127

198

Cash paid for income taxes, net of refunds

1,803

3,145

2,604

3,598

3,526

4,682

Assets acquired under operating leases

5,578

5,101

9,114

7,276

19,576

23,531

Property and equipment acquired under finance leases, net of remeasurements and modifications

1,642

61

3,709

227

9,976

3,579

Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:01:00 -0500 en-CA text/html https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/amazon-com-announces-second-quarter-200100699.html
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